Cultural Overview

With an estimated 97 million people (INEGI, 2000) currently living in Mexico, the country is the largest Spanish-speaking nation of the world. The country has experienced several significant changes in the 20th century, for example, a tremendous rate of urbanization and a substantial population growth (Canak & Swanson, 1998, pp. 141-149). However, fertility has started to decline. Total fertility rates have dropped from 6.8 children in 1970 to 3.8 children in 1986 (Mier y Teran, 1996, p. 326). Mexico is a highly stratified country and there are marked differences by class, region, and ethnicity. Here the focus will be on the so-called Mexican mestizos (Canak & Swanson, 1998, p. 85). The term mestizo is not unprob-lematic. It is mainly a scientific term that is used to refer to the great majority of Mexicans who do not define themselves as Spanish or Indian but of mixed descent. Mestizos speak Spanish and no Indian language. The vast majority of the population profess to be Catholics. The kinship is organized bilaterally. Nuclear and male-headed families are most common, although female-headed and extended households do exist.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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